Nowruz Event at MFA Boston

March 14 @ 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
MFA Boston

Happy Nowruz 1403 / 2024

Join us to celebrate the ancient festival of Nowruz, which signals the beginning of spring! Observed by over 300 million people for more than 3,000 years in places including the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Black Sea Basin, the Middle East, and the Balkans, Nowruz is a beloved holiday that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Stop by the Museum on Thursday, March 14, to discover unique Nowruz traditions from around the world, revel in magnificent works of art, enjoy lively dance and music performances, and much more.

 

Special General Admission Pricing after 5 pm on March 14

Enjoy $5 minimum, pay-what-you-wish general admission to MFA Boston during our Nowruz celebration (available in person day of, starting at 5 pm).

Events and Activities

Nowruz Kid Zone

Riley Seminar Room
5–8:30 pm

Stop by to hear a Nowruz-inspired story in Farsi, share your Nowruz memories, and learn more about the many places that celebrate this ancient festival! Presented by Bagche Farsi School.

Drop-In Art Making: Painted Wooden Eggs

5–9 pm (last entry 8:45 pm)
Druker Studios

Welcome the spring and celebrate the equinox by adding bright colors and intricate patterns to a wooden egg using acrylic paint markers.

Nowruz Celebration Displays

5–9 pm
Shapiro Family Courtyard

View a diverse range of traditional table displays, key elements to any Nowruz celebration. Learn more about the many cultures that celebrate Nowruz and what they include on their table displays.

Caspian Vibes: Sounds from Azerbaijan

5:30 pm
Shapiro Family Courtyard

Get your feet moving and your hands clapping as you experience enchanting folk music and dance from Azerbaijan. Imbued with passionate melodies and graceful movements, this breathtaking performance is guaranteed to leave an impression. Dance by Sayyara Huseynli and Meli Sedghi; music by Aydin Abdoli on tar and Gulnare Ozdemir on piano.

Presented by Azerbaijan Society of New England and Azerbaijan Cultural Center.

Spotlight Talk: Visit from a Qajar Dancer

Gallery 169
5:45 and 6:30 pm

Join Laura Weistein, Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art, and special guest Leila Haghighatjoo in looking closely at a remarkable painting from 19th-century Iran, on loan to the MFA from a private collection. Explores the work’s imagery, the context in which it was first displayed, and the various ways it can be interpreted today.

Presented in Farsi and English.

ASL Interpreter
Available 5:45 pm.

Aftab Dance Group

6 and 7:30 pm
Shapiro Family Courtyard

Sample the breadth of cultures throughout Iran with a medley of Persian dance performed by the Aftab Dance Group, which is comprised of students and young professionals in the Boston area.

Spotlight Talk: Maryam Safajoo and Painting as Resistance

6 pm
Gallery 268

Join Michelle Millar Fisher, Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts, to learn about Iranian American artist Maryam Safajoo. Find out more about Safajoo’s painting practice, which uses journalistic data collection methods to build pictures that resist Baha’i persecution, and see her work up close in the exhibition “Tender Loving Care: Contemporary Art from the Collection.”

Welcome Remarks

6:15 pm
Shapiro Family Courtyard

Hear from Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director; Azi Djazani, chair, MFA Board of Advisors; and Roza Eynula, EdD, founder and president of Azerbaijani Society of New England, as they welcome you to Nowruz.

ASL Interpreter

Mash Botoi Komuz Kuusu

6:30 and 7:15 pm
Shapiro Family Courtyard

Enjoy a one-of- a kind performance of traditional music from Kyrgyzstan played on a komuz, the national instrument. Performed by Tilek Askerbekov and Akylbek Kadyrakunov.

Presented by the TurkicStan Center.

Kazakh-Style Nowruz

6:45 pm
Shapiro Family Courtyard

Immerse yourself in traditional Kazakh music played on the dombra and dance with a performance of works selected by Gulder USA and the TurkicStan Center. Dance performances include “Akku,” “Alkissia,” “Meyram,” and “Kara Jorga.”

Presented by the TurkicStan Center.

Nowruz Fashions

7–7:30 pm
Gallery 168

Catch a unique fashion show highlighting unique garments from around the world. The show features an explosion of vibrant colors, distinct designs, and traditional patterns from the diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds of those who celebrate Nowruz.

The City Talks: What Nowruz Means to Us

7:30–8:30 pm
Gallery 168

Hear from an array of Boston-based creators and cultural innovators as they share their memories and experiences of celebrating Nowruz. With Jafar Alizadeh; Robiya Nabieva, humanitarian assistance and development practitioner in Central Asia; and Shohra Qaderi, postdoctoral research fellow, Harvard Medical School. Moderated by Roza Eynula, EdD, founder and president of Azerbaijani Society of New England.

Dining Specials

Enjoy a two- or three-course prix fixe menu at New American Café inspired by Nowruz, or head to Taste for special lite bites in celebration of the holiday. Taste is open until 9 pm on March 14. Learn more about dining at MFA Boston.

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